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Apple Earnings Get Boost From Strong iPhone Sales in China

by Reuters and Associated Press /

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Defying skeptics on Wall Street, Apple says it plans to keep setting records for selling new iPhones around the world. The tech giant reported quarterly earnings Tuesday that beat analysts' estimates, while forecasting relatively healthy iPhone sales during the upcoming holidays.

Apple said it sold 48.04 million iPhones during the September quarter, which included two days of sales for its newest iPhone models, the 6S and 6S Plus. That's slightly below what analysts expected.

Apple's sales in China nearly doubled to $12.52 billion, accounting for nearly a quarter of its total revenue. In an interview with Reuters, Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said Apple was seeing no signs of a slowdown in that market, despite some economic turmoil. "We continue to have wonderful success there," he said, adding that Apple now has 25 stores in China and is opening a new one roughly every month.

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For the current quarter, which will include a full three months of sales of the new iPhones, Apple forecast revenue between $75.5 billion and $77.5 billion. Analysts had been expecting revenue of just over $77 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said he expected iPhone sales to grow again in the current quarter.

Apple's stock has been dogged for months by worries that the company might have difficulty maintaining its torrid growth. Apple relies heavily on iPhone sales, which contribute more than two-thirds of its revenue. Overall smartphone sales are slowing around the world, as most consumers in developed nations already have one.

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Cook didn't break out figures for the Apple Watch, except to say sales were up quarter-over-quarter.

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